If you feel inspired to climb a mountain, whether for charity or sheer pleasure, here are some of the most challenging (and rewarding) climbs in the world;
1. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, West Africa – Kilimanjaro Mountain, or Mt. Kili, in Tanzania on the border with Kenya gets a fair share of adventure seekers. And why shouldn’t it? At 19,330 feet (5.892 meters) and the highest mountain in Africa, it’s easy to see why people would like to stand on top of the world, all within a few hours flight from Europe. Though you must pay guides and go through a tour operator, the economic stability you bring to the area is akin to giving something back. Moreover, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania won’t require a long leave-of-absence from work either. It’s possible to trek up Kilimanjaro in less than a week, depending on how much time you’ve got to spare. Acclimatizing can take just a few hours, not a few weeks.
2. Mount Toubkal, Morocco, North Africa – If you’ve got some spare time whilst in Europe, take a flight or ferry on down to Morocco for a few days. North Africa’s highest peak at 12,320 feet (3,755 meters), Jbel Toubkal, waits your best stomping. A simple drive from Marrakech takes you to the starting town of Imlil, where your guides and gear can be ready to go in no time.
3. Mount Chimborazo, Ecuador – Chimborazo is an inactive stratovolcano and this is Ecuador’s highest summit. Because the earth is not perfectly round when you are in Ecuador you’re actually closer to the heavens, the moon and the stars. Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is 4,000 miles from the center of the earth and has an elevation of 20,564 feet (6,268 meters). Its summit is a pretty unique in that it is the furthest point from the center of the Earth.
4. Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand, North Island, Oceania – Mount Ruapehu waving high in the sky in New Zealand made the list simply for its sheer coolness, err, hotness. That again, Mt. Ruapehu is one hot mountain because it’s actually a volcano on the north island of New Zealand. Since the south island gets all the credit for the adventure sports, this is all the more reason to tell you about it. The volcano is active and erupted in 1995 and 1996 and 2000, although no visitors have turned into an ash statue yet! The volcano is 9,176 feet tall (2,797 meters) and made the list because New Zealand is just that special.
5. Mount Chirrip, Costa Rica, Central America – Get to the base of Mount Chirripó in San Gerardo, Costa Rica and hike Costa Rica’s and one of Central America’s highest peaks. At 12,530 feet (3,819 meters), Mount Chirripó deserves some respect. Most adventure climbers hike to base camp, reach the summit in the small hours of the next morning and then hike back down. Taking longer is perfectly fine, as long as reservations are made ahead of time.
6. Mount Oraefajokull, Iceland, Northern Europe – Mount Oraefajokull is also a poser in terms that it is not a real mountain but an active volcano. The peak is Hvannadalshnúkur found at 6,922 feet (2,110 meters). It’s really only trekkable in the summer months, when the weather gives way to incredible views. Unless you’re a professional or a popsicle, then you should stay away from Mount Oraefajokull in the winter. With two routes to the top, one for the stronger and one for the weaker (this is a joke, it just depends on timing and weather), the chances of summiting are usually high and well worth the effort. Almost anyone can summit in less than fifteen hours, but don’t sweat it, it often takes less.
7. Mount Puncak Jaya, Indonesia, South-East Asia – There are countless countries, such as Greece, Columbia, Croatia, France, and even Tibet and Sweden that rival for this top seven list. However, this list is a random sampling, so read on and quit bickering. The seventh mountain to make the list is one that’s claim to fame is that it is the highest island mountain in the world. So high, in fact, that it’s surprising that the island doesn’t flip upside down into the ocean. Mount Puncak Jaya (a.k.a. Mount Carstensz) is not for those unaccustomed to climbing some serious peaks. In fact, the technical difficulty of this Indonesian mountain is harder than any listed here, if not one of the hardest of the top seven summits in the world. Pack a long lunch, ice axes, equipment, shovel and guides if you plan to tackle Mount Puncak Jaya 16,024 feet (4,884 meters), renamed Mount Panick Attacka here.